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Global spending on enterprise IT is predicted to reach $2.7 trillion in calendar year 2012, a 3.9 percent increase from $2.6 trillion in the current calendar year, according to analyst firm Gartner.
Although spending growth has slowed from earlier projections of 5.9 percent growth in 2011, at this point enterprises have little choice but to continue to invest in IT, despite a bumpy world economy.
"The days when IT was the passive observer of the world are over. Global politics and the global economy are being shaped by IT," Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research at Gartner, told an audience of 8,500 CIOs and IT leaders gathered for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo this week in Orlando, Fla.
"IT is a primary driver of business growth ... this year 350 companies will each invest more than $1 billion in IT. They are doing this because IT impacts their business performance," Sondergaard said, according to a Gartner statement.
Those investments are being driven by several significant trends that center on customer relationships, and are fueled by dynamic growth in information, cloud computing, social networking, mobility, and collaboration, he added.
For instance, although only three percent -- some $74 billion -- of IT budgets worldwide was spent on public cloud services last year, Gartner forecasts this figure will grow five times faster than overall enterprise IT spending each year through 2015.
Meanwhile, 20 percent of the world's population -- 1.2 billion users -- currently is using social networking.
The next stage of social computing is about mass-customer, mass-citizen, and mass-employee involvement with enterprise systems, Sondergaard's statement said.
"IT leaders must immediately incorporate social software capabilities throughout their enterprise systems," he added.
Then, there's the explosion of information -- Big Data and otherwise.
Multiple systems, including content management, data warehouses, data marts and specialized file systems tied together with data services and metadata, will become the "logical" enterprise data warehouse, Sondergaard said.
Meanwhile, the mobile revolution is already all but a fait accompli. Last year, there were already more mobile devices -- smartphones and mobile PCs -- than desktop PCs in use globally.
Additionally, although 20 million media tablets like the iPad were sold in 2010, Gartner projects there will be 900 million tablets sold by 2016. What that means is that by 2014, so-called "lightweight mobile operating systems" such as Android, iOS, and Windows 8, will outnumber PC-based systems, and 60 percent of IT organizations will have deployed private app stores.
"Where data centers will give way to data clouds, mobile devices become windows into personal clouds ... personal computing will become massive collaborative computing, and information technologies will be overshadowed by information ecologies."
"The impact of these forces will make architectures of the last 20 years obsolete," Sondergaard said.